Editor’s Note: Cindy Spencer, an account manager with RVUSA in Ocala, Fla., posted this story on her blog at CindyatRVUSA.com.

What is Twitter?
Twitter, by its own definition is a service for friends, family and co-workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question:  What are you doing?  Answers must be under 140 characters in length and can be sent via mobile texting, instant message or on the web.

Twitter started as a side project in March 2006 – built in two weeks and launched publicly in August 2006.  It has grown into a real-time short messaging service that gives people all around the world the ability to follow people and sources most relevant to them – from breaking news to updates from friends.

How I use Twitter.
When I first started using Twitter, I would post what I was doing at that moment or going to be doing.  As I’ve gained knowledge of the service through use and my Twitter friends, I’m using it to post new RVUSA.com sign-ups, when I add a new blog post, etc.  These posts on Twitter include a link to the dealer’s inventory on RVUSA.com or a link to their member listing, which ever applies to them.  To see my Twitter page, go to: www.twitter.com/cindy_spencer/

How to start an account with Twitter.
All you have to do is go to:  www.twitter.com, click the “Get Started – Join!” button, enter your full name, username (I would use your dealership name here), password, e-mail address, type in the captcha words so they know you are an actual person and click the Create My Account button.

Once your account is set up, you can then customize it by changing the background, color scheme, picture used, etc.  If you look at my Twitter page you’ll see that I’ve created a custom background to promote myself and the services I can help RV Industry companies with.  For you, creating a background that has your logo, company info, website address, toll-free number, description or images of the products / services you have would be beneficial.

The next step is to add followers and you do this by clicking the Find People link at the top of the page.  If you know the persons name (Cindy Spencer), type it in and it will display all the matching results.  Go ahead and follow me and I’ll follow you.  You can also type in company names or use the e-mail invite tool on the right side if you know their e-mail address but can’t find them on the site.  There’s also a link for “Find people on other networks” that will allow you to login to your Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail and/or MSN account to search for anyone in your contacts list there and follow them.

You can also go to:  http://search.twitter.com and type in topics to find followers.

How you can make money using Twitter.
Think about who your audience (followers) should be, those who will be interested in what you are doing and will help you make more money, generate leads and sales for your company.  Typically if you follow someone, they are going to follow you back.  If you can, each day post about something that’s on sale, or a special you have going on, along with a direct link to it on your website.  This should take about 5-10 minutes of your time.

I know at first this may seem silly but it works.  I’ve seen companies post job openings, Open House invitations / details, Inventory blow-out sales, etc.

If you have questions or need help creating a customized background for your Twitter page, let me know.

About Cindy: I’ve been with RVUSA.com for about 10 years now.  I started out fresh out of college as a website designer with Kathy Couch, the originator of RVUSA.com.  I quickly became the person in charge of the accounts and getting new sales because of my telemarketing background.  RVUSA.com was bought by Greg Petry, the current owner, in 2000, which is about the time we took the RVUSA.com website from “blah” to wow.” I continued as a designer for a short period but as RVUSA.com grew, it became very clear that my focus had to be on managing all the accounts.  I’ve always felt, no matter what my job or position, that customer service comes first.  I treat people the way I expect to be treated.  I’ve been the account manager for RVUSA.com for almost 10 years or so and I’m looking forward to many more years!!